Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Channeling Your Inner Developer

In today’s competitive job market the Information Technology (IT) Professional does well to expand their skills in application development.  An applications developer creates software or “apps.”  As business organizations in the 21st century evolve, the skills of effective developers are increasingly in demand and therefore, increase your value to the organization.  Such skills encompass everything from conceptualizing an application to designing, developing, quality testing, and deploying the application.  After deployment, supporting the application continues as new users are added and software updates are installed. The developer’s skills are employed at the start of every new concept and design.

Like a good magician who can keep the audience perpetually awe struck, you will know you have internalized your developer skills when you repeatedly demonstrate tasks requiring tremendous competency with apparent ease.  These seemingly effortless “tricks” include the ability to: 
  1. Remember everything you have ever developed; 
  2. Recall this knowledge on demand at a moment’s notice; and, 
  3. Do so over the phone and a mile or more away from the nearest computer.  
Other good examples of developer “tricks” include being able to remember every connected and pluggable add-on capable of becoming integrated with the application. 

When practiced, the following tips enable your inner developer to perform technology “magic” like a pro:   
  1. Keep good documentation and make sure it is instantly available. For example, store your application documentation in cloud based services like: Dropbox, OneDrive, and Google Drive.   
  2. Be active on social media and use live support from colleagues around the globe.   
  3. Practice effective limits by not saying “yes” to developing every application out there -- if you want to channel the “magic” of your inner developer, you need focus.

As Harry Houdini could tell you in his day, there are always competing “acts” out there. Channeling the “magic” of your inner developer requires that you always strive to be great. The pace of technology change takes dedication to your field. It’s okay to help out other developers once in a while. But keep in mind that you have to place some limits on providing such support. Otherwise, you will not have time to stay on your deadlines or remain in almost continuous communication with inboxes that never sleep. Application support in today’s world is a 24/7 job -- which means you must be able to concentrate on major enterprise applications of significant value to the organization.

Speaking of time, the magic of effective developers includes knowing a few project management “tricks.” When something can’t be accomplished in the stated time or if doing so provides only a small return, recommend that such “extras” be part of the next project or phase. This buys you time to test the latest technology or whatever is being requested. When it comes to setting timelines, add a cushion for “Undefined Tasks.” But don’t mention that you have done so. This cushion of time is something only you know about -- otherwise it becomes time controlled by someone else which impacts your ability to perform your “magic.” 

Channeling your inner developer is a matter of practicing effective work habits and maintaining a certain level of discipline. It may seem like a lot. However, the real magic is demonstrating value to the organization time after time.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

[ProductName] folder name in Program Files (x86) AzureQuickstarts.vsix

Strangely, I see a folder name called “[ProductName]” in C:\Program Files (x86)\ folder, and only file that I see in that is “AzureQuickstarts.vsix”.

I am not sure at what point did this file got installed. Only guess so far is that it may have been installed with update of Visual Studio.

I hope no one else is experiencing such an issue.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Migrating Classic ASP to MVC 5 using Scaffolding

This week I started working on a new website application which will update a previously setup project in Classic ASP. The new application will be setup as Database First MVC Model as the current website already has lots of user demographics and trainings information.

I have read many documentation on MVC but haven’t gone about implementing MVC on a large scale project so this will be solution which will let me test out all possibilities of MVC. The application is using the default MVC project with Bootstrap 3 and updates applied from nuget Manager. I will also be using the github as a repository so code does not gets lost.

One of the things I right away ran into when I setup the scaffolding is the “default” database values not being populated, it’s the fault in the database setup but the issue is even noticeable in ASPNetRoles table.

After the auto generated controller was added, I have added the below line before the “SaveChanges()” is called to resolve a uncaught exception when creating a new role and I have removed the id input box on the auto generated Create.cshtml page.

aspNetRole.Id = System.Guid.NewGuid().ToString();

This is a beginning of the migration, I wonder what kind of hurdles I may run into, but hopefully they will not be showstoppers.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

GitHub and Cheat sheets

Getting comfortable with GitHub branches, publishing using GitHub Desktop app and Cygwin Server Services with Putty. The first week with GitHub was not easy as I do not use the Linux shell for often and the github “origin” keyword required little getting use to.

As all things are not created equal, I am learning to create some cheat sheets for softwares and applications. It is not humanly possible to remember all things all the time and I am starting to notice my limitations in recalling at moment’s notice specific commands, shortcuts or steps in any given project.

For the super blessed one search online may result in instant answer, but for people like me the search result (a.k.a Artificial Intelligence) seems to play games with mind. It never returns the same results over time and it takes too much of the precious time when trying to solve a problem within minutes, so I can move on to the next task. On the other hand scanning a book for solution or waiting for the peers to reply to the question seems endless hours.

On many occasions the cheat sheet would not solve the problem but it can surely reduce the time from searching online or waiting on peers; as time is of the essence when facing multiple tasks that are needed to be completed.

The list below should be customized to your preference as it is the list that has worked for me.

  1. Microsoft Excel
  2. Google Drive – Spreadsheet
  3. Microsoft OneNote
  4. Notepad text files

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Watchguard XTM330 Configuration Lost

Yesterday was a panic day as the Watchguard XTM330 firewall just decided to crash and burn. The display never goes into a safe mode but it displays it’s “starting” until the buttons are held and if I let go of the button, it will show the “Watchguard” text display.

What’s biting me back is that I do not have a backup of the configuration and this system seems to have reset to Factory default. Why would a working system go blank when no one accessed the server room.

After installing Watchguard System Manager, I was hopeful that I can get a backup, but sadly it connects based on Factory Default settings and not based on the configurations I had over a year.

Hopefully the rush delivery of different system will be in my hands by end of the day so that the internal network will be up and running by tomorrow.

I am still holding on to the hope that, once the current system is returned Watchguard tech team would be able to retrieve my configuration, as that would really help in setting up the new system or at least comparing it, to make sure no special settings are missing.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Google Chrome Incognito Two Windows Sharing Data from one another

I have two separate Google Apps account and today I happen to open them up in two separate Google Chrome Incognito Windows.

Two windows two different instances, works well with Google Apps Email or Gmail, both render different Gmail accounts. But there seems to be a caveat, the less restricted Google Apps accounts seems to penetrate the second Incognito window tabs when opening services like “Sites” or “Offers” and ask for permissions to log-in with the second windows credential even though in the next sibling tab the Gmail is running fine.

The “Offers” services automatically displays offers based on the second windows “Credential”. Only after Gmail refreshed does the other services start picking up the same windows credentials.

I assume that this is an expected issue if using the normal browser or if the email itself was behaving same, but because Gmail works flawlessly, it just begs the question why the other Google services not able to support features that Gmail supports.

Is Gmail the first to get this service while others may get this in the future?

Character map Checkmark display in HTML

If you like to use a checkmark for your web page, than use this Unicode “✔” in your html code.

I had a quiz page, where I wanted to display the checkmark if the user answered the question correctly.

I first tried to find which font offers a checkmark symbol.

Second, after much trial and error I noticed the Wingding Font has the checkmark but not the Winding 3 Font. After using the CSS Font-family and src attribute to make it all work, I wasn’t totally sure on the licensing issue and the winding font kept resulting into a lowercase “a” rather than the checkmark in html.

Finally, I was able to solve the issue by referencing the Wikipedia Character Map reference guide and adding html render prefix of “&#x” to the numeric value from reference guide and the post prefix of “;”, to result in an html symbol, that displays checkmark. ✔